What to Look for in a Used Forklift

Making the decision between a new and used car is one of the most important decisions an individual can make.

Choosing between a new and used forklift can be equally as important for a business, and equally challenging and important for a business- especially a small business.

The tricky part in selecting a used forklift is that you cannot really tell what condition it’s in just by looking at it. What’s important in the condition of a used lift is the maintenance it has undergone, and the hours it has been used.

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Opportunity vs. Conventional Charging

In our last blog post we mentioned “Opportunity” charging, taking the time afforded by lunch breaks and other down time to charge your forklift batteries.  There are advantages to that, and to conventional charging you will want to consider before you plug in during that break.

In a normal charging situation, a shift ends and your operator performs his/her end-of-day inspection, parks the lift in its designated area and plugs in for the long haul. “Conventional” charging takes anywhere from 8-10 hours to completely charge the battery. In a perfect situation (and how many of us work in a perfect environment?) that battery would rest for another eight hours. So, conventional charging is really best in a situation where your forklift is used on one shift only.

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Getting to know forklift batteries

The battery in your car or truck, and the battery in your forklift are both necessary to make the vehicle go. That’s where the similarities end. The battery in your forklift serves several purposes in addition to powering the unit.

We use industrial lead acid batteries in most of our forklifts, and they are much bigger and heavier than most batteries.  In fact, some are so heavy the lift uses the batteries’ weight to help counter-balance the load lifted by the forklift.  Some industrial lifts may use multiple batteries.

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How long should my forklift last?

Like just about anything in this world, your forklift will eventually wear out.  It’s the circle of life. So… how long should a forklift last?

With proper maintenance- regular checkups according to the manufacturers recommendations, oil changes, grease applications and run-of-the-mill usage, etc- a new forklift should last about 10,000 hours.  Assuming a 168-hour month (that’s 8 hours a day for a month) your lift will run for five years.

After that, you can have your unit rebuilt and it can run like a champ for another 6,000-8,000 hours more.

You can tell if your forklift is beginning to show its age if the engine starts burning through oil faster than it used to, if the transmission starts slipping a bit, if the mast components start wearing out, or if the steering axle fails.  Any one of these can be spotted just by paying attention to your forklift or through regular inspections, which you should be performing anyway.

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